Tag Archives: Statistics

Not Everyone Got A Trophy

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that lines used.

“Not everybody wins a trophy.”

That patronizing line gets spat from the lips of sneering pundits on the news. It makes its appearance in venomous opinion columns in the local papers and it graces cover of national magazines.

“Not everybody wins a trophy.”

“Some people are losers.”

“This is what happens when you give kids awards for just participating.”

To hear some folks talk, the sum total of this country’s ills can be traced back to the coddling of America’s youth- Generation Y in particular. And certainly there’s no shortage of criticism launched in the Millennials’ direction.

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This is the generation of entitlement, the generation of immediate gratification, the generation of the two-second attention span, the “me” generation. And all stemming from the baseless sense of accomplishment and self-esteem given out with every participation award.

Or does it?

The idea that kids are being handed award after meaningless award is rampant- so much so it seems to have gone unchallenged. Yours truly took to the internet to find out what the statistics were on the number of participation awards given out, and my efforts were utterly fruitless. Now there were plenty of polls on public opinion of participation awards, but neither my old friend Google Scholar nor the internet at large had anything to offer in the way of hard numbers.

And that should concern us.

Ask yourself- just for a moment- how many participation ribbons or trophies you’ve actually seen anyone receive. Not how many you suspect might be out there. Not how many schools or competitions have that “mentality”.

How many have you actually seen with your own eyes?

I’m guessing the number of actual occurrences might not quite be so high.

Then why the outrage?

Millennials are constantly painted as greedy, lazy, thin-skinned egotists as a result of a kind of upbringing for which little to no hard data exists. One might just as easily blame the decline of glam rock or UFO sightings for the supposed ills of Generation Y.

Yet the accusations persist. Continue reading

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The Remnants of Colonization in La Loche: What Factors Lead to Tragedy?

On January 22nd, a 17-year-old student killed four individuals in La Loche, Saskatchewan.

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The four victims of the La Loche shooting, Adam Wood, Marie Janvier, and Dayne and Drayden Fontaine.

When I first heard about this heartbreaking tragedy I was shocked. Since then, I’ve been reading more and more about the town of La Loche in order to better understand the context of what happened. Below I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned about the situation this small Northern town has faced.

1. Rural isolation

Canada has become an urban nation, so the city is where most of our jobs and resources are.

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In some ways the popular Canadian cliche of a “vast, empty wilderness” is still true today. Just like the “discovery” of Canada – when a country filled with many different nations was considered “empty” by explorers – today Canadians still consider the jobless pockets of Northern Canada “empty”.

While settler-Canadians have congregated primarily in the region of Canada closest to the American border, First Nations peoples still tend to be the majority in Northern rural areas. In La Loche, for example, more than 2,400 of the 2,600 community members identify as First Nations or Metis.

However, these communities have changed considerably since “the discovery” of Canada. Generations of First Nations peoples were forced to give up their cultural practices during their time in the Residential school system, which lasted from the 1870s all the way into the 1990s. They also gave up huge portions of land to white settlers. Not as a gift, but in an exchange drafted out in treaties that the Canadian government has yet to honour.

First Nations communities continue to survive, despite the loss of many traditional practices and lands. While these communities struggle to overcome their isolation, many settler-Canadians continue to ask why they don’t move south to find more jobs and a “better lifestyle”. In her article responding to this question, Susanna Kelley argues that many rural reserve members are forced to give up their land and community support if they want to find employment and education.

“First of all, the overwhelming majority of [rural] reserve residents have not completed high school and have no place to work once they hit the urban south. And many fly in reserves don’t have high schools.  Would you like to send your 13-year-old to live 70 km. away for months at a time?

Many who do come to the cities end up in the sex and drug trade.  They simply are unqualified to make a living other ways…

Which is why many [First Nations] people stay where they are, close to family and their community.

But what most Canadians don’t know is that our nation is legally bound to provide housing, health care and education to [First Nations people] who live on reserves.

The federal government isn’t just doing it out of the goodness of its heart.

The obligation comes from legally binding agreements made by treaty many years ago.”

Continue reading

Black to the Oscars

Well readers, it was exactly one week ago that actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced her decision not to attend this year’s Academy Awards, citing a distinct lack of diversity in the nominees. In a brief video [embedded below], Pinkett Smith expressed her frustration at the apparent exclusion of people of color in the “mainstream”, and declared that “…begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity.”


Upon hearing this, the nation has since had a moment of quiet reflection over the issues Miss Pinkett Smith has brought up, calmly and honestly discussing the root issues facing the representation of-

Nah, I’m just kidding. People went ape****.

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Cue the torrent of self-righteous indignation as folks started positively shrieking about reverse-racism, hypocrisy, and entitlement. And as more and more figures have come out in support of (or at least, sympathy with) Pinkett Smith’s cause, the outrage has only grown with it. It seems that you can’t go anywhere online without running into something like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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For the record, the stats on this lead to incorrect conclusions- but we can talk about that later.

Continue reading

When Life Gives You Don Lemon II: The Lemoning

Don Lemon.

Our more dedicated readers will remember we wrote about the CNN news anchor back in November, and by “wrote about him”, I of course mean “launched into a detailed tirade about what an spineless, amoral sleazebag the guy is“.

Yeah, we weren’t gentle with that one…

Now as we’ve said before, there’s plenty of folks out in the news who lack integrity. Those folks- your Piers Morgans, your Glenn Becks, your Keith Olbermanns- are plenty nasty, don’t get me wrong, but they’re at least motivated by some agenda. You can generally count on ’em to focus their bile in a precise direction or at specific targets.

No such luxury with Don Lemon.

Don Lemon- as he himself would tell you- isn’t tied down to any one perspective or set of politics. One day, he’s speculating to whether or not a black hole was the cause of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Or one day, he’s asking one of Cosby’s alleged rape victims why she didn’t just bite the guy’s penis. Or he’s endorsing the patently racist and unconstitutional practice of “stop-and-frisk”, and telling folks they have to choose between dignity and security. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. The dude’s got the earnestness of Walter Cronkite and the journalistic ethics of the Daily Mirror.

You stay classy, Great Britain…

Continue reading

The Trial of Michael Brown

These are the facts:

Michael Brown is dead and Darren Wilson, the man who shot him, has been acquitted by a jury.

The public seems to have latched onto this, interpreting the court’s decision as being not only evident of Wilson’s “innocence” but Brown’s guilt.

But guilt over what?

The past days have seen a reversal of public opinion on Michael Brown, with many online posting gifs of the alleged petty theft he committed shortly before his death. Captions have included statements like “a reminder of who Michael Brown really was” and comments as to his size and stature.

Readers, am I the only one who doesn’t think Michael Brown should be tried over how tall he was? Continue reading

The Post-Racial America (That We Don’t Live In)

Well, I woke up this morning, flipped on my laptop, and had this image waiting there to greet me.

Django Unchained Actress Accosted by LAPD After Kissing White Husband

For ****’s sake, people.

Alright, lets get to it. Continue reading

Our Injustice System (Revisited)

I don’t work in prisons.

I mean, I might have to in the near future, but as of yet, I haven’t.

Today I’m going to be making some pretty bold statements, and I want to be up front about my reasons for doing so. While I don’t work in the big house (I have had to deal with min-sec “transitional housing”- if that counts for anything), I do work exclusively with an ex-felon population. As with a bad car wreck, you don’t have to be an expert to a look at the current situation and work backwards to figure out just where things started going wrong. Now I’m not saying that prisons help cause crime, just that as they stand today, they aren’t doing a whole lot of helping.

Let me break it down here.

Continue reading